Breaking up with someone you still have feelings for is one of the hardest things in the world. Sometimes, however, more pain will be caused by trying to stay together if the relationship truly cannot work out.
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Make the decision to separate, and stick to it. Waffling will ultimately only cause more hurt on both sides, so make sure you are committed to the break-up before you take the first step.
Talk to your partner and explain why you can't be with the person anymore. Honest communication is the key; lying about your reasons, even if it is to spare the other person's feelings, will only confuse the matter.
Divide any joint belongings. If you share personal space, one of you will have to move, so make a list of what each of you will keep. Remove all belongings in one step to avoid hurtful return visits.
Wait before seeing each other to give the pain time to subside. Agree to give it a week, or a month--then re-evaluate and see if it is a good idea to see each other as friends.
Forgive each other. If you still love each other, this should be easy. Don't harbour resentful feelings, but acknowledge the good times you had together, and admit that it is time to move on.
Tips and warnings
- The process of breaking up can be extremely painful, especially if you still love your ex, so surround yourself with loving, supportive people. It's OK to mourn the death of the relationship, but don't make the mistake of immersing yourself in grief. Spend time with family and friends--that's what they are for, to help you through the rough times.
- Trying to remain friends after a break-up usually doesn't work. It's a nice thought, but usually is hard and awkward for both people.